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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — In the short time it took the Buffalo Bills to release and re-sign Matt Cassel, the journeyman quarterback didn't have a chance to clean out his locker.
"I didn't even come in," Cassel said after re-signing with the Bills on Tuesday, three days after he was among the final players cut by the team.
For the Bills, the decision to cut Cassel was made after he lost the starting job to Tyrod Taylor last week. Cassel was set to make a $4.15 million base salary this season, which was deemed too expensive.
A team person familiar with the decision said the Bills took the calculated risk to cut 10-year veteran in hopes they would have the opportunity to re-sign him at a more salary-cap friendly contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Bills didn't reveal their plans regarding Cassel.
The person said Cassel signed a one-year deal, but declined to reveal how much the contract was worth.
The release initially caught Cassel by surprise. At the same time, Cassel said, he was informed the Bills were interested in re-signing him.
Cassel turned down offers to sign with other teams to stay in Buffalo because he was familiar with the offense, and he didn't want to relocate because his wife is eight months pregnant.
"First and foremost my family comes first," he said. "There were opportunities to go to other places, but at the same time, when you look at the situation and the hard work that went in throughout this entire offseason, I thought it was the best place for me."
Coach Rex Ryan said Cassel will move into the No. 2 spot behind Taylor, and relegate EJ Manuel to third string as Buffalo prepares to open the season by hosting Indianapolis on Sunday.
"As I've said from Day 1, we like all three of the guys and we never wanted to lose anybody obviously, so that's why we made the decision we did," said Ryan, referring to Cassel's return.
Ryan picked Taylor as the Bills starter even though Cassel spent much of training camp working with the first-string offense and is the Bills most experienced quarterback. Taylor is far more mobile than Cassel, and provides a dual-threat dimension to the offense as a rusher and passer.
Taylor will make his first career NFL start after spending the past four seasons as Joe Flacco's backup in Baltimore. Manuel, who lost the Bills starting job a month into last season, has a 6-8 record since his selection in the first round of the 2013 draft.
The Bills acquired Cassel in a trade with Minnesota in March.
The 33-year-old is on his third team in four seasons. Overall, he has a 33-38 record in starts split between New England, Kansas City and Minnesota.
To make room for Cassel's addition, the Bills released tight end Nick O'Leary, their second of two sixth-round draft picks.
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